EU sets billion-euro budget to support roll-out of hydrogen refuelling stations, green shipping fuels and EV chargepoints




No budget per technology has been set, although projects in certain regions could see extra support


The EU has launched a €1bn ($1.08bn) call for proposals through its Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility (AFIF) to support the roll-out of infrastructure for zero-carbon transport, including hydrogen refuelling stations and bunkering systems for ammonia- and methanol-powered ships.


However, suppliers of H2 fuel or its derivatives will have to compete with electric vehicle (EV) chargepoint developers for grants, as while the call for proposals lays out a broad swathe of different applications the EU is willing to fund, it has not allocated a specific budget to any one technology.


Green hydrogen for heavy-duty road transport, shipping and aviation, as well as ammonia and methanol for ships, must compete with electric recharging infrastructure for fixed co-funding rates, which provide grants to cover a portion of project costs incurred.


Only renewable H2 will be eligible for AFIF funding.


There are also “unit contributions” — a fixed reimbursement per unit installed — but these are only available for EV charging stations for light- and heavy-duty battery vehicles, which will be eligible to receive €30 per 150kW recharging point or €60 per 350kW.


In addition to a requirement that the projects meet capacities and locations set out by the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation passed last year, proposals will be assessed on five criteria:


  • Priority and urgency: An assessment of how well the project meets the call requirements, and more broadly how it matches up to the EU’s wider policy objectives.
  • Maturity: A measure of whether the project will be able to start and end according to its proposed schedule, as well as the status of permits, contracts for external suppliers, and other financing.
  • Quality: An assessment of how sound the proposed project is from a technical and financial perspective, with a particular focus on how it is designed and what controls are in place to manage risk.
  • Impact: An evaluation of the environmental, social and economic impact the infrastructure will have, including emissions reduction, and how the developer will measure this throughout the timeline of the project.
  • Catalytic effect: A measure of how necessary EU funding is for the project to go ahead at all, such as by “overcoming a financial gap generated by insufficient commercial viability, high upfront costs or the lack of market finance”.


A grant offer will only be made if the project is rated three out of five possible points per each criteria.


Developers must ask for a minimum €1m from co-funding rates, or €2m if applying for the EV unit contributions.


However, while the call for proposals has not budgeted by technology, it is not agnostic when it comes to extra support for certain locations within the EU.


The billion-euro budget is split into a €780m “general” envelope, and a €200m “cohesion” pot. The latter trance of funding is only available to projects in member states allowed to draw from the Cohesion Fund, which provides support to countries with a gross national income per capita below 90% of the EU-27 average, namely: Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.


Projects applying for grants from the general envelope can request up to 30% for the cost of works, vessels and equipment. However, the offer can rise to a maximum of 70% for these costs if they located in the so-called “outermost regions”, or member states’ islands and territories that are geographically far from Europe, such as Spain’s Canary Islands or French Guiana in South America.


However, the cohesion envelope offers a slightly higher base maximum of 50% for eligible costs within its member states, with the same boost to 70% for costs in the outermost regions.


The call for proposals has three cut-off dates, the first on 24 September this year, the second on 11 June 2025, and the third on 17 December 2025.


Once submitted, proposals will be evaluated for up to three months, with eight to nine months between the cut-off dates and the grants being signed off.


The support will also only last for 39 months, although the scheduled “end date” for projects drawing on co-funding rates can be extended if necessary.





Hot News

FuelCellChina Interviews